In many ways, a military divorce is a lot like any other divorce in the Georgia courts.
Georgia law controls most of what happens in a Savannah-area divorce
Provided it has the authority to do so, a Georgia family court will divide property and debts in a manner the court believes is fair and will decide questions of alimony, child support and custody and parenting time.
For the most part, divorce is a matter of state law. This does not make a military divorce particularly easy or simple.
Especially among servicemembers of higher rank or long-term military members, property division can be both complicated and contentious. Moreover, military couples of all sorts can find themselves entangled in a custody fight.
Military divorce has some unique features
However, there are ways in which a military divorce is different from other divorces. For example, in a military divorce, the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act might apply if one of the parties is on active duty.
Among other rights, the active-duty servicemember might be able to apply for and receive a stay of any divorce proceedings for at least 90 days.
For the spouse of a service member benefits can be an important issue. They might lose access to on-base housing, their health benefits and other important support that they have come to count on.
There are also certain federal laws that serve to protect former spouses from some of the financial shock after a military divorce.
To give just one example, the military does have a process under which a former spouse can receive retirement payments directly from the government.
While the state court will decide whether and how a servicemember’s retirement will get divided, it is important that spouses follow the military’s process in order claim the share of retirement pay to which they are entitled.